NerdWallet’s Best No Annual Fee and Free Credit Cards, Spring 2014


In a world that has taught us to always look for a catch, it’s difficult to believe a no fee credit card is a fair (or safe) bet. But no, they aren’t too good to be true – some no fee cards still offer high rewards and reasonable interest rates.  If you don’t consider yourself a jetsetter or like to save a little more than you spend, you can still rack up rewards without handing over a fee each year.

What’s even better is that you can just stash this card away and keep the account open indefinitely. This way, you’ll boost your credit score by raising your overall credit limit and account age. Whether you’re into cash back or low interest payments, there’s a no fee card out there with your name on it. Here are our picks for the top no fee credit cards.

Best no-fee gas credit card: the Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom - $100 Cash Back Credit Card
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on Chase's
secure website

The Chase Freedom provides versatility and value, at no cost. Like the Discover it, the Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories, such department stores, restaurants and home improvement. Gas is featured as a bonus category in two quarters, so you’re earning an average of 3% on gas purchases throughout the year. Your bonus rewards are capped at $1,500 in purchases each quarter, but you can get an unlimited 1% back in non-bonus categories. Add that to a 15-month 0% intro APR period on purchases and transfers, and you’ve got yourself quite a card at no annual cost to you.

Best 5% cash back credit card: the Discover it®

Discover It Credit Card
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on Discover's
secure website

The Discover it® card offers a one-two punch: 5% cash back on bonus categories that change every quarter up to $1,500 spent, plus 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers – the longest among no-fee, cash back credit cards. This is a pretty great offer, featuring no foreign transaction fees and access to the ShopDiscover online rewards mall, which earns 5-20% cash back on popular online retailers. The card pays out in cash, so you don’t have to do battle with point programs to get your full value. If you’re looking for a solid value and a great bonus to boot, the Discover it is for you.

Best cash back credit card: the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Cash Credit Card Credit Card
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on Capital One's
secure website

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a full 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You don’t have to worry about quarterly enrollment, bonus categories or cumbersome caps – just a nice, high rewards rate and points that can be redeemed as a statement credit against any travel expense. Plus, not only does the card have no annual fee, it also has no foreign transaction fee. This makes it ideal for those traveling internationally. But wait, there’s more! You’ll also get a signup bonus – One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Mo’ money, no problems!

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  • wonder

    looking for a credit card company who accept after bankruptcy cases, i haven’t seen any who will except you with out having a security deposit.

    • Jake Kooker

      You’d have to start with a secure credit card, then about 6 months later a student card, then after about a year of that you could move on to one with decent rewards

      • Aaron

        You don’t ever need a student card after a secured. I went from a secured card, to the amazon visa from chase, and now I have the Freedom, Discover IT, and Capital One Quicksilver

        • Jake Kooker

          True, it all depends on your credit background, credit limit, and credit usage. Speaking strictly from personal experience from myself and my girlfriend, 4-6 month intervals are a reasonable rate of progression.

  • robin mulligan

    what a lame article as it only shows cards that have a limited time 0% APR! My US Bank REI Visa is ALWAYS 0% and it gives me credit to use at REI (about 10% return) or money back after a few months. are you getting kickbacks from these major banks?

  • VIP

    PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature is a better no-fee gas card, at 5% cash back on all gas purchases (and 3% on supermarkets). You can gain access to this card if you’re not military-affiliated, by becoming a member of National Military Family Association or Voices for America’s Troops. ($20, and $15 respectively).

    • Andrew Green

      That card is 5points not %

  • denis urbano

    Forni-Card i by far a good deal, what you put inside in a monthly basis, is pretty much close about what you are getting out from using this card. the fee is only $69.00